LONG GONE IS THE ERA when. if asked to name makers of kitchen equipment or furniture. all that might spring to mind would be a Morphy Richards kettle or a Parker Knoll chair. Today talk is of artists such as Alessi and Starck. And when it comes to clothes. designer-labels are not merely an extension of 80s flaunt-it decadence. Alexander McQueen and John Galliano are household names with a boy-next-door-done-well ring to them. Design is big business and Glasgow is a place that knows it.
The city‘s Second International Festival of Design is an unabashed celebration of the form. A two-week long festival. its concern is not with empty fashion statements but the importance of design. And. according to the festival‘s director Bruce Wood. Glasgow is fast-tracking it to the top: ‘There can be little doubt that design will be the root to economic development in the future. so it is vital that Glasgow maintains a high level of design activity.’
The festival hosts a line-up of speakers including Wayne Hemingway of cult fashion company Red ()r Dead. Michael Horsham from the hip communications agency Tomato and Marcus Field. editor of the contemporary journal Blueprint. As to actual products that could soon grace your home. The Glasgow Collection brings together over 45 products by designers based in the city and beyond.
For Wood. it shouts loud and clear the city‘s creative adventurism. The Glasgow design duo. One Foot Taller will be exhibiting a trio of chairs. namely Chasm. Ravine and Canyon. with other freshly-minted designs including a bath. a barge and light-fittings by a further fifteen companies.
Italy. the country that continues to be seen as offering a high concentration of design talent is given the spotlight treatment. An Italian Day brings design gods Alberto Alessi. GiorgettoGiugiaro. Vico Magistretti and Piero Lissoni to Glasgow to share their inspirations. And if you wondered how advertisers worked their seduction techniques. an exhibition at The Lighthouse explores the cultural and psychological meaning of the colour red.
Glasgow‘s first Festival of Design was held in 1996. and formed part of a determined strategy to promote the city‘s design credentials. Taking place every three years. this time it falls perfectly during Glasgow‘s reign as l999 UK City of Architecture and Design. Wood who came from the product design department of Glasgow School of Art in I997 to work on the festival. is confident that when it comes to design and the city. the only way is up. (Susanna Beaumont)
7—21 Oct 1999 THE lIST 109